Not too long ago I wrote an article on how to get and keep clear skin. I mentioned natural fruit acids that act as a natural, homemade chemical peel, sloughing off old dead skin to reveal the newer looking skin underneath. Today I’ll go into detail about what chemical peels are and how they benefit your skin. Then I’ll show you how to make your own.
What is a chemical peel?
There are a few types of chemical peels. They are applied to your skin, most often on the face, and then over then next few days the skin will start to pull away or “peel.” It is most often used on scarred skin, such as acne scars or burns. Over time, the new skin has less and less of the scarred material and new skin is allowed to come to the surface.
There are mild peels, such as those with glycolic (fruit based) acid, and harsher ones such as trichloroacetic acid (like a very strong vinegar) or phenol. The peels used with phenol tend to lighten the skin and are ususally only used in extreme situations.
Most salons or spas use glycolic acid in a form that is much stronger than just plain fruit juice. Sometimes dry ice is used in place of glycolic acid as it will yield the same results.
Why do a homemade chemical peel?
A homemade, natural chemical peel helps you control the ingredients and avoid all the toxic elements of the store-bought versions.
Almost all of us have some scarring of some sort on our bodies. I have a scar on the inside of my arm from some barbed wire after falling off of a cow. (They do NOT like to be saddled, by the way!) I have another on my knee from rock climbing near the river. These aren’t large and they don’t bother my self esteem at all. However, scars like burns, perhaps on the neck or arms, or severe acne scars on the face can lead to low self esteem and even send people into hiding. This is where chemical peels can greatly benefit you.
I like to do a chemical peel once a month just to be sure there is nothing left behind on my skin after my normal beauty routine.
Natural Homemade Chemical Peel
You can go very mild with this recipe or go for a deeper peel with stronger acids. The variations are listed after the recipe.
- 1 small cucumber, seeded and pureed (about 1 cup)
- 1 package or 1 Tbsp. unflavored gelatin (find it here)
- a few drops natural liquid meat tenderizer (find it here) OR ¼ tsp. powdered meat tenderizer (like this)
- a dash of ground cinnamon (adding too much may irritate skin)
- water if necessary
- Place the cucumber inside a medium sized bowl and sprinkle with the gelatin. Add a little water if it doesn’t start to dissolve.
- Sprinkle the meat tenderizer and cinnamon over the cucumber mixture and stir well to combine. The gelatin will dissolve and become pasty. Add water if you need to make it spreadable.
- Spread this over your face and allow it to dry, 15-20 minutes.
- When completely dry, start at the jaw line and slowly peel from your face. Rinse off any residue and follow with moisturizer if you wish.
Note: You can do this once a month, but no more often as it may irritate skin.
Cucumber is the most mild, but you can substitute other ingredients for this.
- Papaya and pineapple contain papain and bromelain, both of which are used in tenderizing meats. This is why I add a small amount of meat tenderizer to the recipe. You can omit the meat tenderizer and use pureed fruit instead.
- Pumpkin has a great deal of fruit acids. You can steam some fresh pumpkin or use it from the can. (Be sure it’s plain pumpkin and not pie mix.)
- Avocados are high in acid too, and have added moisturizers.
- Tomatoes are another good choice. The newer hybrid tomatoes are lower in acid, but are still great for this type of application. Use fresh puree or juice.
- Sugar can work well too. Sugar cane is high in acid and makes a great chemical peel. Use the same amount as you would puree or juice.
Want to go even milder? Used a pureed apple. They are mildly acidic.
Want to go deeper? Try lemon or lime juice. The possibilities are endless as long as there is some acid to the fruit or vegetable you use.
Do you have a problem with acne? Crush an aspirin or two and add this to the mixture. The salicylic acid is one of the only things that dissolves blackheads. The cinnamon in the recipe should help to keep new blackheads from forming.
Most people need to use a moisturizer afterwards. You’ll notice right away how much softer your skin will feel. You can use this on other parts of your body, such as the legs or arms. Be very careful using it near sensitive areas.
If you are treating scars, skip the moisturizing after the chemical peel and instead apply a mixture of a few drops lavender essential oil and Vitamin E oil. This will help with the regeneration of new skin cells and soften the look of scars. It may take several peels to reduce the look of deeper scars.
Have you ever used a chemical peel? Tell us how it worked!